Sports betting terms for dummies

Sports betting terms for dummies

Sports betting terms for dummies – here you will find an extensive wagering glossary, the benefits of which will be appreciated by anyone wishing to make sports bets.

Sports betting terms for dummies



a term used by some players for bookmaker (bookie).

Across the Board

a method of wagering on a horse to win, place and show.


a wager of any kind.


a middleman who places players into a sports book for a commission.


a dog, puppy or underdog, i.e., the team, side or contestant in any given event considered to be the least likely to win.


an abbreviation for: against the spread.


Back Door Cover

meaningless points scored to cover the spread, by a team that is likely to lose.

Bad Beat

a tough loss, e.g., when unwanted points are scored against your wager in the dying seconds of an event, or your horse loses by a nose, after leading all the way.


a messenger player, i.e., a player who plays on behalf of someone else.


a dispute or claim involving a player and his/her bookmaker.


a sports book or betting establishment that sets odds and accepts wagers on the outcome of sporting events.

Bookie (Bookmaker)

a person, house or organization that takes players’ bets.


a bankroll.


a $100.00 wager.



the favored team, side, contestant or horse in a sports event.


a player who tends to wager only on the favorites, rarely on the underdogs.

Circle/Circled Game

an event where the wagering limit (the action) is severely limited, i.e., where the sports book lowers its’ normal wagering limits due to uncertain weather, significant injuries, or unconfirmed rumors regarding a contestant or team.

Clone Joint

a sports book that moves its’ lines to conform with other sports books.


to bet the point spread (spread) by the required number of points. If a wager is made in this way, the player is said to have covered the spread, and stands to win an event by more points than he/she laid, or lose by fewer points than he/she had taken.


Dead Heat

when two or more horses finish in a tie.


a term for a compulsive gambler.


the sum of $1000.00.

Dime Bet

a $1000.00 wager.

Dime Line

a slang term used to indicate the ten cent money line, i.e., the money line in which the bookmaker’s vigorish/vig/commission amounts to ten percent. Also, it refers to the money line difference of ten cents that the player would lay with the favorite, or take back with the underdog (dog).


a term for underdog, Alpo or puppy, i.e., the contestant or team that gets the points.

Dog Player

a player who plays the dog, puppy, Alpo or underdog as a rule.


the sum of $100.00.

Dollar Bet

a $100 wager.

Double Bet

a wager that is twice the amount of the player’s usual wager.

Due For

a term referring to a contestant or team that is considered to be overdue for a win or loss in their next contest or sports event. The due for wager is a favorite strategy of many players.



practical hold percentage, i.e., the total amount won by a bookmaker divided by the total amount booked.

East Coast Line

a term used mainly in ice hockey, which has a split-goal line, e.g., Detroit Red Wings favored over Vancouver Canucks (1-1½) as opposed to a spread plus money line (-½ -180).


the advantage in any wager.

Even Money

a wager where neither side lays any odds, or vigorish.

Exacta, or Perfecta

horse betting terms referring to the method of betting on a horse race in which the first and second place horses are picked to cross the finish line in a specified order.

Exacta, or Perfecta Box

horse betting terms referring to the method of betting on a horse race in which the first and second place horses (two or more) are picked to cross the finish line in any order.

Exotic Wager

action other than a straight wager, e.g., teasers, futures, round robins etc.


the amount of money the player or book stands to lose on any action.


the amount of money the book, theoretically, risks losing on an event.



the team, side, horse or contestant, competing in any given event, that is considered to be the most talented or, otherwise, has the best chance to win.


an amount owed by, or to, a bookmaker, based on a player’s wins or losses.

Final 4

the remaining four teams in the NCAA basketball tournament.


the wagering of large sums of money, i.e., a player who does so is said to be firing.


a slang term referring to the outcome of a race, contest or game that has been illegally pre-determined. No one in the mainstream sports betting world, on either side of a wager, cares for this term.


a derogatory term describing the wanna-be players who wager little, and expect something for nothing.


a slang term sometimes used to refer to the game of football.


the expected performance of contestants or teams according to how well they look on paper.


a type of wager made, or lines/odds posted, on an event, or outcome, that will be determined sometime in the future, e.g., betting during the season on which team will win the SuperBowl, World Series, NBA Championship or Stanley Cup etc.


Get Down

make a wager.

Going Down

losing a wager, or series of wagers.

Gross Win

winnings before expenses.



a person who analyzes, studies and rates sporting events.


total amounts of wagers taken.


to wager the opposite of your original wager in order to reduce your exposure.


the percentage the house wins.

Holding Your Own 

the result of breaking even, i.e., neither winning nor losing, during a wager, or series of wagers.

Home Field Advantage

the edge the home team is expected to have as a result of playing on home turf. For example, it would normally be more familiar with the playing area, enjoy greater fan support, and avoid the effects of travel endured by the visiting team.


a half point added to football and basketball point spreads, as in 3½ or 3 and a hook.


the loss of a wager by exactly a half point.


a slang term referring to the game of basketball.

Hot Game 

a game which is attracting a good deal of action, on one side, by skilled handicappers.

Hot Tip 

wagering information/data not yet in the hands of the bookmaker.



an abbreviation for International Boxing Federation.



the bookmaker’s commission. Often refers to the 11/10 players lay on straight wagers on football games. Juice is also known as vigorish, or simply vig.


Lay the Points

a wager on a favorite in a point spread event.

Lay the Price 

a wager on a favorite in a money line event.

Layoff Wager (Bet) 

a wager made by one bookmaker with another bookmaker to help him to balance his action, and reduce his risk, on a horse, contestant or team.


the maximum wager accepted by the house, or bookmaker before the odds, points or price will be changed. In a sense it is a cap on the amount the player will be allowed to wager.


refers to the listed odds, points, money line or point spread for any given event.


the person who establishes the original and subsequent betting lines for an event.

Listed Pitcher (LP) 

the pitcher, or pitchers, listed by the Las Vegas oddsmakers as probable starting pitchers for a scheduled baseball game.


an easy winner, or a clear no lose situation.


an extreme underdog.



to win both sides of the same betting proposition. Placing a wager on the favorite team at -2½ with one bookmaker, then taking +3½ with another bookmaker. When the game ends up with the favorite winning by exactly 3 points, the player has middled the game. Middling is a favorite betting method of wise guys.


a player who tends to middle his/her bets.


an abbreviation for Major League Baseball.

Money Line 

the amount the player must wager to win $100.00, or the amount the player wins on a wager of $100.00. No handicap is given, such as a point spread or run line. The team wagered on just has to win the game. Payoffs are based on true odds rather than fixed odds. The amount the player lays or takes may vary each time.


an abbreviation for Most Valuable Player. The leagues give MVP awards to the best of the regular-season, and to the outstanding player in championship games or series.



an abbreviation for National Basketball Association.


an abbreviation for National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Neutral Site 

an arena, a court, ring, rink or field where neither side has a home field advantage.

Newspaper Line 

the lines which appear in various daily newspapers. These lines are only approximate and can be downright inaccurate and misleading.


an abbreviation for National Football League.


an abbreviation for National Hockey League.


a $500.00 wager.


an abbreviation for National Invitational Tournament.



same as the linesmaker, i.e., the person who establishes the original and subsequent betting lines for an event.

Odds On Favorite

a horse, team or contestant so favored by the public that the odds for the event are less than even.

Off The Board

a game on which the bookmaker accepts no action (no wagers accepted).

Off Lines

the amount the Las Vegas point spread differs from the lines of other sportsbetting sites, which have derived their data from various computer software systems.

Official Line 

the line the bookmaker uses for wagering purposes. The line produced in Las Vegas is quite often referred to as the official line, however, the line that the bookmaker offers the player is actually the official line. Many smart players compare the Las Vegas official line to that of their local bookmaker to ensure they get every possible edge.


a bookie (bookmaker). Could also refer to an illegal bookmaker.

Outlaw Line

an early line which is not an official line. Often, linemakers will invite specially selected players to wager into the outlaw line, before entering the line to the public. The linemakers respect these experts and use their input to create a final opening number. This process is called ironing, or flattening, the line


the odds of a particular wager are higher than they should be, and tend to favor the player rather than the house.


the continuation of a game, that is tied at the end of regulation time, until a winner is determined, or the maximum specified overtime periods have expired.


a wager on whether the combined total of the points/goals scored by two competing teams will exceed, or be less, than a specified number.


Parlay (Multiples)

a wager on two or more teams, or outcomes, in no particular order, where all selections must win for the player to be successful. All teams wagered on in a parlay must win to ensure a payoff.

Parlay Cards

wagers on a minimum of three, and up to 15 propositions; the more the player picks, the more he/she wins.

Past Performance

an accurate record of the performance of specific teams, horses or contestants when participating in sports events similar to those scheduled.

Past Post

a wager made after an event has begun.

Penny Line

a money line which is adjusted in increments of a penny, that is, one cent at a time.

Pick or Pick’em 

a game where no team, or betting option, is favorite.

Pick’em Game

a game where no team is favored. The player takes a pick and lays 11 to 10.


a bettor or gambler.

Point Spread, Or Spread 

a margin, in points or goals, given to an underdog taking part in an event, in order to handicap the favorite team, or give the underdog a head start. This margin, or point spread, is intended for betting purposes only. The point spread, which is really the predicted scoring differential between the contestants or teams concerned, is often referred to as the line.


to wager a greater amount than usual.


the money line odds or point spread on the favorite of a sports event.

Proposition Bet

a wager on a specific aspect of an event such as the number of field goals, free throws, etc., that will be made.

Puck Line

a wager on ice hockey that combines both a handicap/spread and odds.


slang term for the game of ice hockey.


an underdog, Alpo or dog.


a tie between the player and the bookmaker where the final score of a game is exactly the same as the point spread, or the total points (combined scores of both teams).


Quinella, and Quinella Box

horse betting terms referring to the method of betting on a horse race in which the first and second place horses (two or more) are picked to cross the finish line in any order.


Rain Out 

an event canceled because of bad weather.

Round Robin

a series of parlays, for example, a three team round robin consists of one three team parlay, and three two team parlays.


a line update.

Run Line 

a line used when wagering on baseball.


a messenger player (beard).

Ryder Cup 

a golf tournament between American and European golfers that takes place every two years.



one who attempts to profit from the differences in odds, from book to book, by wagering both sides of the same game at different set prices.


to win a great amount of money due to successful wagering.


a person who studies the performance and potential of teams, horses or contestants, in or out of play, and reports the pertinent findings to handicapper(s).


to withdraw, cancel or call off a wager.


a wise guy.


a term that refers to people who make small wagers.

Side –

to win one side of a wagering proposition and tie the other, for example, if the player lays -2½ and takes 3 on the same game, and the favorite wins by 3, he/she has sided the book, that is the book has been sided.

Side Bet/Side Wager 

a wager on a particular team, side or contestant to win an event.


a bet on a single result or outcome.

Smart Money 

money wagered on sides by knowledgeable handicappers.

Soft Line 

a wagering line that is not current with the true posted line, that is, a line that has been adjusted, or moved, as a result of action, but does not reflect the true line as posted.

Sport Player 

a player who waits for unusually strong wagers, at times, in error.


an abbreviated form of point spread.


an unsophisticated player.


money used to wager on the success or failure of a particular event.

Stanley Cup 

cup representing the winning of the North American ice hockey championship series.


a rating given to certain high performers.


when a betting line starts to move quite rapidly. Most steam games do not necessarily reflect the right side, but are games where the majority of players decide to focus their attention and action.

Straight Wager

a single straightforward wager on a selected side, or over/under. The team wagered on must win by the point spread given at the time of the wager.


a depressing condition experienced by players who feel behind, buried, losing or down for the week.

Sucker Bet 

a wager that overwhelmingly favors the bookmaker or house.

Sudden Death 

an overtime period of play where the first contestant to score is declared the winner of the event.

Super Bowl

NFL championship game.


Take A Price 

a wager on the underdog in a money line event.

Take the Points 

a wager on the underdog in a point spread event.

Tapped Out 

a condition experienced by players who are broke (busted). It is a common result of pressing.

The Short 

a slang term for Alpo, puppy, dog or underdog.

The Store 

a term for bookmaker (bookie).

Teaser Wager 

a bet on two or more teams where the line on each team is adjusted in favor of the player. Like a parlay, all selections must be correct for the teaser wager to payoff.

The Big Dance 

a term that refers to the 64 team, post season, college basketball championship tournament.

Ten (10) Cent Line

the money line difference (10 cents) between what a player lays with the favorite, or takes back with the underdog.


a tip or gratuity.

Toss Up 

a game where the line is close to pick/pick ’em, that is, a game where no team, or betting option, is a clear favorite.


the total combined number of runs/points/goals scored by the two teams involved in a sports event.


a person who either sells or gives away his selections on games, races or contests.

Tout Service 

a business that sells opinions of sporting events.

Trifecta Triple

horse race betting term referring to a method of betting where the player must select the first, second and third place horses to cross the finish line, in a specified order.

Trifecta Box

horse race betting term referring to a method of betting where the player must select the first, second and third place horses to cross the finish line, in any order.

Triple Sharp

a sharp who is the sharpest of the sharps.

Twenty (20) Cent Line 

the money line difference (20 cents) between what a player lays with the favorite, or takes back with the underdog.


a book that derives it’s numbers by taking the middle point between the numbers calculated by all other books.



the team, side or contestant in any given event considered to be the least likely to win.


the odds of a particular wagering proposition are lower than they should be, that is, they favor the house.



an overlay, i.e., getting the best odds on a proposition, the highest possible edge.

Vigorish (Vig)(Juice) 

the commission paid to the bookmaker (bookie).



an abbreviation for World Boxing Association.


an abbreviation for World Boxing Council.

Wise Guy

a well-informed, knowledgeable, and successful sports handicapper or player.


an abbreviation for Women’s National Basketball Association.

World Series 

a best of seven games, baseball championship playoff series, to determine the best team in Major League Baseball.